The inside story
It began in 1992 when Rotarians led by Realtor Gene Zinda put together the first auction at the McMinnville Community Center. After one more year at the center, the show went on the road to wineries around the valley.
Domaine Drouhin Oregon hosted the event for five years. Then it was one year each for Archery Summit, Domaine Serene and Adelsheim.
Starting in 2003 with Anne Amie, wineries agreed to host the auction for three years. After Ann Amie, it went to Ken Wright Cellars, then Methven Family Vineyards
Following its three-year run at Methven, the event moved this year to one of the region’s newest and largest winemaking facilities, the 44,000-square-foot NW Wine Co. winery opened in late 2011.
Whereas a large tent to serve as the dining and live auction area had been part of the event’s physical footprint up until this year, the size of NW Wine’s Dundee operation proved more than adequate for the task.
In other words, thanks to NW Wine Co. and its Hyland Estates brand, 2013 saw the entire Oregon Wine & Art Auction dinner, oral and silent auctions under one solid roof for the first time in years.
Of course, there was the patron party held at the Hyland Estates tasting room, a beautifully remodeled residence on the western edge of the estate property.
That pre-event saw 50 people in attendance who were welcomed by NW Wine Co./Hyland Estates owners Laurent Montalieu, Danielle Andrus Montalieu and John Neimeyer.
The 16,000-square-foot room, called the Crush Pad because grape processing takes place there, provided plenty of space to accommodate round tables for 400 hungry diners once the equipment had been removed.
The silent auction and winery pouring stations were set up in the fermentation room which still had enough despite its rows of huge stainless steel tanks, which could not be moved.
In the official program, 70 people were listed as “Our Team,” and they needed every one of them to handle the logistics of dozens of silent auction wine and art items.
In addition to host Hyland Estates, featured wineries pouring this year included Anam Cara, Brooks, Coelho, Ken Wright, Maysara, Mouton Noir, R. Stuart & Co., Soléna Estate, Tresori, Walnut City Wineworks and Youngberg Hill.
In addition to pinot noirs, several wineries chose to present their latest rosé, the new hot wine in Oregon. Or is that cool wine since they were all chilled and refreshingly appreciated in the warm weather that has signaled the arrival of northwestern Oregon’s short but sublime summer.
A previously unpromoted but thoroughly enjoyed performance by the Nancy Emmerich-led Blonde Divas set the stage for attendees to sit down for dinner.
Emmerich’s husband Bob Emrick was also in evidence. A couple of years back, he sold Western Oregon Waste to what is now Recology Western Oregon, one of the event’s presenting sponsors.
It’s fun to observe a silent auction bidder hovering near his or her desired lot right at closing time, to ensure not being outbid, but the evening really comes to life when it’s time for the oral auction.
Vacation trips, winemaker dinners, winery experiences, sporting excursions and, of course, wines were among the 21 live auction packages.
Of the vacation trips, a week in San Jose del Cabo donated by Steve and Kathleen Bernards topped the getaway category, and a retrospective of 1985 pinot noirs from 10 Oregon wineries offered by Myron Redford was the most enophile-enticing.
Though the final figure has not yet been pinned down, it appears at this point that some $170,000 was raised for the Willamette Valley Cancer Foundation, YCAP and other Rotary causes.
Karl Klooster can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 503-687-1227.